Wanted To Meet Deadline "As Quickly As Possible"
In my recent 8/10 review of Star Fox 64 3D, I bemoaned the fact that its local All Range multiplayer mode wasn't supplemented by online functionality. Nintendo's Yusuke Amano has now spoken out to explain why their recent revamp was bereft of online features... which boils down to cutting costs and making the deadline "as quickly as possible." At least they're honest.
In an interview with Official Nintendo Magazine, Amano explains that the "vast" costs associated with providing an online multiplayer suite would probably not have been worth paying.
Personally, I play a lot of online FPS games. This leads me to think that just making multiplayer parts of existing games playable online isn't enough to create a satisfying experience for users. The popular online games work in lots of things, so they play well online - and if we wanted to satisfy everyone who bought the game, the costs required for including online support would be vast.
Amano also suggests that time was a critical factor, in that manpower would have to be split between making the singleplayer experience as polished as possible and working on the multiplayer suite and netcode. The aim of the project was to showcase the 3DS' graphical prowess in time for Christmas, and as far as that goes, the mission has been a complete success.
For this project what we needed to do was use Star Fox to provide users with a game that shows the appeal of Nintendo 3DS as quickly as possible. We put a lot of effort into the graphics, and if we had included online support then we couldn't have reached this level in the time allowed.
Future Star Fox titles - which haven't been confirmed, so don't get too excited - may include online multiplayer.
We didn't consider the lack of online features to be a dealbreaker (hence the ripe old score), but we can't help but wonder what could have been. Here's hoping that Nintendo will commission a new Star Fox game for the Wii U.